Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

welcome Amy!

Monday, March 31st, 2014

We have officially become the “A Team” as Amy Whitford joins Anne and Adriene at LoveCats!

Amy found LoveCats in September 2012 while looking for someone to give the TLC that her orange furball, Stringer Bell, desperately needed during times that she and her husband, Lee, traveled. She started working as a kitty helper in October 2013 to help cover busy weekends. And now, Amy has permanently joined the LoveCats team, working as a part-time office manager and sitter.

Amy grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts. After living in Vermont and Colorado, she decided that her heart belonged to Boston and she settled here in the late 90s.

Amy’s first pet was a dog named Matilda. But when she passed away, a mysterious cat showed up on the front seat of the family car when someone left the windows down. Cosby joined the family and it has been all cats, all the time ever since!

Amy brings several years of experience helping keep small businesses organized. Most recently she worked for Taza Chocolate in Somerville. And, before that, Curly Girl Design in Belmont.

“I can’t believe I get to spend my days playing with cats,” she says. “I feel so good about giving people the same peace of mind that I feel when I go out of town and LoveCats takes care of Stringer Bell.”

emergency preparedness

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

I’ve been meaning to write about this article I read back in October. It’s about a bill that is currently working its way through the Massachusetts State Legislature that would require towns and cities to devise emergency evacuation and shelter plans for animals.

From the little I can glean, it sounds like this particular piece of legislation focuses on what to do in cases of natural disasters — which is great! We have been pretty lucky here in the Boston area to have few devastating storms in the past decade. We may moan and groan about all the snow or rain, but we should have nothing to complain about compared with those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the Moore, Okla. tornado disaster, or Hurricane Sandy.

So, good on Sen. Karen Spilka who is lobbying for this bill.

While we wait for its outcome, let’s take action ourselves. Do you have an emergency plan in place? Not many of us do. My husband and I haven’t talked about how to communicate if we lost cell phone and Internet communications.

Outside of our human considerations, we have our little furry friends to think about. As you ask yourself the questions below, add “what happens to my cat(s)” in each of the points:

* What if you were at work or traveling when a major storm wiped out power or damaged your home? Also consider what happens if that storm affects your neighbors and your whole town.

* What if a fire started at your home while you were at work or traveling?

* What if a natural disaster affected the city in which you’re vacationing — preventing you from getting home for days or weeks?

Here’s a great resource to help with the answers to some of these questions, as well as tips for what to have on hand in cases of emergency: ASPCA Disaster Preparedness at www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness.

Yes, this can be emotional thinking time, and yet it’s practical. Hopefully, we’ll never need the plans we put in place!

putting food on automatic

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

There are many good reasons to buy a feeder. Some cats, just like humans (me included!), don’t have the “I’m full” mechanism when it comes to food, and they keep eating if there’s kibble out for them to indulge. A feeder helps control portions and it creates a schedule. Just like children, cats benefit from being kept to a routine.

Even if your fluffster is a grazer, an automatic dispenser is often better than a bowl overfilled with dry kibble that will go stale after days of being left out.

On a side note, I have a bit of a pet peeve about “topping up” dry food bowls. Broken and stale bits are not attractive to felines, who will often pick around them. Also, keep in mind that cats’ salivary glands work as they’re eating. When you clean your munchkin’s food bowl, you’ve probably noticed a layer of gunk at the bottom — that’s a mix of saliva and food oils. That’s why it’s important to wash the food containers and water bowls.

Back to auto feeders, they come in many varieties and at a wide range of price points. So how do you decide? I came across a wonderful review site for food dispensers. The main page offers summary points, as well as the types of cat best suited to each feeder.

simplifying catification

Friday, December 20th, 2013

My last blog post (so long ago!) referenced a local LoveCats family member who has catified her home, enabling her munchkins to safely traverse the outdoors.

It seems “catification” has become a booming trend. Just the other day, the New York Times wrote about Kate Benjamin in Phoenix, who has made a business out of her blog, offering ways people can make their homes more comfortable for their cats.

I love the concept, and I think if you’ve got the time and money to take on these projects, they certainly bring a peaceful, comfortable existence for indoor cats.

That said, catification can be as simple as letting your cat rule the roost. And if there’s a place you don’t want them to go (e.g., bedroom, kitchen counters), do a swap and give them their own spot, ideally a place they can climb up to (top of the fridge, a high bookcase shelf). It may mean creating levels for them to make that climb. For example, allow them a portion of the kitchen counter to make the leap to top of the fridge. Or provide “steps” from the coffee table to the back of the couch to a bookcase.

The reason for height comes down to control. Just like humans, cats need to feel secure in their environments. They’re small things and we’re big things, so giving them a place higher up makes them feel safer, a bit out of reach. Just like us, they need peaceful time, or when feeling a bit afraid, an escape hatch.

If your munchkins can’t climb, give them hideaway places behind furniture — for example, a nice soft blanket or an old sweatshirt inside a cardboard box.

I know you’ll find ways that suit your home and your cat. And I hope you’ll share them with me when you do!

cambridge catification

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Jackson Galaxy, the now famous cat behaviorist from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” tv show, always talks about the catification of your home. In his words, it means “creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space.”

I recently came across an awesome example right here in Cambridge. Leif and Darwin’s mom built this very cool outdoor cat run for the boys. By slipping through a cat door out the window, they can walk down the side of the house to the patio. From there they can extend over to a large play cage, including a sweet hammock and some benches where they can rest under the trees — getting close, but not too close, to the birds.

Leif and Darwin are nearly 10 years old, but if you were around them, you’d think they were much younger. They are frisky as kittens, leaping for Da Bird, jumping on huge swaths of packing paper, taking walks on the cat run. I do believe that their home, being an active, engaging environment, is keeping them healthy and fresh.

OK, so theirs is an extreme example of catification, yet I hope you find it inspirational. Explore Jackson’s website for other ideas.

welcome Adriene!

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

LoveCats is very excited to announce that Adriene Tilton has officially joined the staff!

Adriene grew up in Western Massachusetts, where she followed a passion for dance, participating in two local dance companies. She has spent nearly 30 years as a childcare provider and more recently, has worked as a home healthcare provider. Her concern for the well-being of others has carried over into her volunteer efforts for HIV/AIDS and suicide awareness and prevention charities.

Speaking to her feline side, Adriene fell in love with a neighbor’s cats when she was 10 years old. They kindly let her visit as often as she liked. Thanks to that experience and her own family’s subsequent rescue of two kitten brothers, Adriene has been crazy about cats for more than 30 years. She has channeled that passion into trying to understand how cats work, and how to make their relationships with humans as comfortable and engaging as possible.

Adriene found her way to LoveCats as a client for her munchkins Henry (who passed away in February 2013), Caddy and Obi (six-year-old, orange tabby sisters). She answered a call for kitty helpers in August 2012 and has been assisting on busy weekends and holidays since then. Adriene officially joined the LoveCats staff in October 2013, working as a part-time sitter.

“I am excited to meet and help care for many more cats with LoveCats,” says Adriene, “and it’s a great opportunity to keep learning what makes cats tick!”

a quick word on water

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

It has been a long, busy summer — sorry for not posting any updates for a while!

I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve had to water my garden this summer, and the fact that we had several two- and three-week runs of no rain in July and August. My tomatoes paid the price of my poor watering skills. I’m going to chalk that up to not knowing how much to water and have bookmarked a couple gardening sites for my review this autumn.

I think the same goes for water and cats. We know to put down a water bowl, but how much should they drink? Is filtered any better than tap water? And how can you tell if your munchkin is in fact drinking it?

To help with that, I found a good article on Catster: www.catster.com/cat-food/how-much-water-should-a-cat-drink. There’s some really good advice on quantity of drinking water and signs if your feline isn’t getting enough.

One other tip that I think I’ve mentioned here before: I found that many cats do not like their water bowl to be next to their food bowl. I know it sounds unusual, but it has something to do with their primitive instincts as to finding water. So try putting the bowl or glass in a different place and see what happens.

Stay hydrated!

counting calories

Monday, June 24th, 2013

I hate dieting — only because I love all foods and begrudge having to limit myself. That said, I’ve found if I want to lose some weight, I start counting calories.

Well, it’s a similar situation for cats. If you’re worried about your munchkin putting on weight, my first bit of advice is make sure they’re exercising. Get wand toys to get them running and jumping around for at least 10 minutes twice a day.

But sometimes exercise isn’t enough, especially in middle-age or older cats — especially, if like me, you’re tempted to give the sweet peas some treats! So that’s when calorie counting may help.

I recently read that if your feline weighs 8-10 pounds, she would require approximately 200-250 calories per day (roughly 25 calories per pound of furry loveliness!). Now the tricky part arrives in finding out how many calories are in their food. Most pet food labels are a mass of confusion. It’s hard enough to figure out what the ingredients are, let alone determine the calories or amounts to give.

If your kitkat’s food does not give a calorie breakdown, here are two sites for reference:
1. Wet Food : www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/wet-cat-food-calorie-count
2. Dry Food: www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/dry-cat-food-calorie-count

You can also find a calorie counter for cat treats here: www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/cat-treats-calorie-count

Happy counting!

cool tips

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

I don’t have a full blog post right now, but two items have been on my note pad for over a month:

1. To avoid a stinky trash bin in the summer, scrape uneaten wet kitty food into a tupperware container and put it in the freezer. Each day, whatever wet food your cat doesn’t eat, just add to the tupperware. Then on rubbish collection day, just plop the frozen mass into the garbage bag and take out the trash!

2. There are many cute covers or lids to put on unused portions of wet food. But here are two other ideas: put the can into a tupperware container or buy one of these cool Whisker City storage containers at PetSmart.

Also, as we head into summer, please make sure your munchkins have plenty of water. Put out an extra bowl (not necessarily by the food!) and maybe throw in an ice cube or two.

here’s to your health

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I’ve never been more convinced of the healing power of animals as in this past month.

My father had a stroke in early March, which meant that I spent much of that month in Ohio with him and my mom. The day I left Boston, I was waiting at the curb for my cab and our neighbor’s cat, Misha, wandered over to wait with me, as you can see in the photo below. She gave me and my luggage a proper kitty-love sendoff. Her little bit of love made my flight a lot easier.


Then, one day when I was visiting in the hospital, a couple knocked on his door asking if they could bring their greyhound dogs in to visit. My dad, like me, is a passionate animal lover, so of course he said yes. These beauties came in, slowly approached dad’s wheelchair and let him stroke them. To see my dad’s smile and his eyes dance was powerful for me, so I can imagine how good the experience was for him.

Now that he’s in rehab and I’ve returned to Massachusetts, we catch up by phone every day and he asks about my kitty visits. He wants to know their names and if they prefer to play or be brushed. I can envision him smiling and I hear him chuckling as I describe one munchkin leaping in the air, another purring like a little motorbike. And I’m ever so grateful to know my work helps both of us.